Biodiversity is the variation in living organisms, viewed within a given habitat, ecosystem or in the world as a whole. The concept is usually applied to the species diversity, although the notion of genetic biodiversity is applied to the variation in genes within an individual species. While most people think of rainforests as loci of great biodiversity, biomes such as oceans and grasslands are the likely repositories for even greater variation. Retention of diverse biota is important, since intact ecosystems are thought to be essential for provision of ecosystem services to humans, including maintenance of a diverse foodbank, pollination, clean water, flood control, pest control, waste decomposition, biomass energy resources and climate stability. Biodiversity is presently critical since we live in the era of the Mass Holocene Extinction, a period of species loss caused by man, and unrivaled in rate of species loss. Although the number of total species numbers in the tens of millions, most have not yet even been described. The extinction of a species is almost always related to destruction of habitat or man-made pollution.
The Spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris), a marine mammal in the family of oceanic dolphins, engages in formation of small schools. This cetacean species evinces a dominance...
Cordillera La Costa montane forestsLast Updated on 2013-12-05 17:34:29
This region is located in elevational patches between middle and high elevations along the Venezuelan northern coastal range mountains (between 600 –2,675 meters (m) in the high summits), and supports extraordinarily diverse montane evergreen forests. Separated physically from the Andes by the Yaracuy depression, and from the forests of the Guyanan floristic province by the extensive plains of the Andes (llanos), these mountains are isolated from one another by much drier surroundings lowlands. Isolation and a great variety of physiographical scenarios, have created an extraordinary species richness and strong speciation processes that are manifested in a relative high level of plant and animal endemism.
The Cordillera de la Costa montane forests are located in the northern coastal range of Venezuela. The ecoregion is composed of various enclaves that range from... More »
Central American montane forestsLast Updated on 2013-12-05 17:16:32
This montane forest ecoregion is made up of forest patches occurring in an island-like mosaics on the isolated tops and slopes of the highest mountains of Central America, from southern Mexico into northern Nicaragua. At such altitudes, the tropical climate gives way to a more temperate-like climate with fairly high precipitation.
This region provides for such animals as the endangered, endemic horned guan (Oreophasis derbianus). Much of the higher elevations remain relatively intact and are declared protected; however, there is little management or enforcement. Lower elevations have been altered by subsistence farming.
The montane ecoregion of northern Central America exists as more than 40 relatively small habitat islands extending from southern Mexico to the southeast through Guatemala then into El Salvador and Honduras. The generally widely scattered mountains rise out... More »
California coastal sage and chaparralLast Updated on 2013-12-05 16:51:42
The California coastal sage and chaparral ecoregion, located along the southern and central coast of California, has extremely high levels of species diversity and endemism. The coastal sage scrub is an endangered ecosystem that contains a number of endangered species. The California Gnatcatcher is currently being used as an umbrella species to protect the endemic flora and fauna of this region from urban development. The region is listed as an Endemic Bird Area with a very high number of endemic scrub species. Generally located on high value coastal real estate and threatened by human development, the ecoregion represents the struggle between ecological preservation and human development.
The California coastal sage and chaparral encompasses coastal terraces, plains, and foothills along the Pacific coast of northwestern Mexico and southern California, USA. The Santa Rosa Mountains... More »
Bahia interior forestsLast Updated on 2013-12-05 15:36:33
Although biodiversity is relatively unknown for this region, the endemic primate Coimbra’s titi monkey (Callicebus coimbrae) was recently found here indicating there are probably other endemic species. The ecoregion can be divided into two regions, the seasonal deciduous forest and seasonal semi-deciduous forests with each containing differing species of both flora and fauna. Rich in biodiversity, especially avifauna, less than one percent of its area is currently protected.
Heterogeneity is the best word to describe the Bahia interior forests. This ecoregion covers a large area, including the Brazilian states of Sergipe, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, and Rio de Janeiro. It is bordered by the ecoregions of Bahia coastal forest (east), Cerrado (west), Caatinga (north) and Paraná-Parnaíba (south). Although the dominant... More »
Tamaulipan matorralLast Updated on 2013-12-05 15:11:49This unique Tamaulipan Matorral ecoregion lies in Northern Mexico with its southern limit along the line between the nearctic and neotropical realms.
Sever frosts, however limit the species capable of living in this ecoregion. Xeric conditions also contribute to species limitations as the small quantities of rain that does fall is quickly soaked up by the limestone base.
Desert like conditions are perfect for succulents such as cacti, which exist in such numbers in this ecoregion that it is, designated a priority area for their protection.
The region is formed by the lower elevations of the Sierra Madre Oriental that gradually diffuse into the northeastern coastal province of Tamaulipas. One part of the region is composed of abrupt mountains, but low valleys and vast plateaus mostly dominate it. Geologically, sedimentary rocks of marine origin characterize the ecoregion.... More »
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